Do You Know the Most Lucrative Food Crop in Your State?

American agriculture is, unless you live in the Heartland, largely ignored. There are more exciting developments to the public happening on the tech coasts than there are innovations in the farming heart of the country, but no matter which way you slice it, agriculture is still at the center of many states’ economies. I wondered about the distribution of crops across the country on countless drives through almost every region, from the Northeast to the West and it seems that Joe Satran, a staff writer for the Huffington Post, felt the same way.

The purpose behind creating this original infographic was, originally, to determine what crops make the most money for each state. As it turns out, when he began to compile data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service, he found “that in most states, the biggest crop was one that was used mostly for animal feed.” So without further ado, check out this map of the United States and the most lucrative food crop American farmers there produce.

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Huffington Post

For a closer look, here’s the full list and profit per year. Remember, these are only for human food crops, per the United States Department of Agriculture report, and therefore Iowa’s $4.5-million-per-year corn crop isn’t on this list.

  • Alabama: Peanuts, $241M
  • Alaska: Potatoes, $3.8M
  • Arizona: Lettuce, $424M 
  • Arkansas: Rice, $136M
  • California: Grapes, $5.2B
  • Colorado: Wheat, $536M
  • Connecticut: Sweet corn, $11M
  • Delaware: Wheat, $44M
  • Florida: Oranges, $1.8B
  • Georgia: Peanuts, $960M
  • Hawaii: Sugarcane, $73M
  • Idaho: Potatoes, $1B
  • Illinois: Wheat, $139M
  • Indiana: Wheat, $243m
  • Iowa: Wheat, $4.5M
  • Kansas: Wheat, $2.9B
  • Kentucky: Wheat, $201M
  • Louisiana: Sugarcane, $512M
  • Maine: Potatoes, $177M
  • Maryland: Wheat, $114M
  • Massachusetts: Cranberries, $100M
  • Michigan: Wheat, $322M
  • Minnesota: Wheat, $622M
  • Mississippi: Rice, $136M
  • Missouri: Wheat, $272M
  • Montana: Wheat, $1.6B
  • Nebraska: Wheat, $419M
  • Nevada: Wheat, $9.3M
  • New Hampshire: Apples, $7.8M
  • New Jersey: Blueberries, $81M
  • New Mexico: Pecans, $111M
  • New York: Apples, $250M
  • North Carolina: Wheat, $286M
  • North Dakota: Wheat, $2.7B
  • Ohio: Wheat, $243M
  • Oklahoma: Wheat, $1.2B
  • Oregon: Wheat, $465M
  • Pennsylvania: Mushrooms, $529M
  • Rhode Island: Sweet corn, $3.5M
  • South Carolina: Peanuts, $133M
  • South Dakota: Wheat, $821M
  • Tennessee: Wheat, $145M
  • Texas: Wheat, $643M
  • Utah: Wheat, $52M
  • Vermont: Maple syrup, $35M
  • Virginia: Wheat, $113M
  • Washington: Apples, $2.5B
  • West Virginia: Apples, $23M
  • Wisconsin: Wheat, $622M
  • Wyoming: Beans, $37M

Overall, there are some surprises on this list. For example, I wouldn’t have expected New Mexico to be the most lucrative U.S. agriculture source of pecans. Modern agriculture, though, still shows that wheat is the most lucrative crop for most states in the U.S. In the southern region, though we see peanuts creep into the picture. The Northeast is, by far, the most diverse region of lucrative crops, with the varied fruits and vegetables grown by U.S. farmers.

Again, this map doesn’t reflect the percentage of each state’s agricultural contribution to feed for farm animals, though Satran did create an infographic featuring the division between human food and animal feed in the United States. To learn more and check out that infographic, head on over to Huffington Post.

So the next time you’re driving through farmland for miles, consider what’s being grown around you. We all move through this country without often considering the ones on the ground breaking their backs to lift it up for economic growth.
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